BANGOR – This time of year, goals are hard enough to come by in high school field hockey playoff games, but when it’s Central and Dexter facing off, they are at a premium.
That was again the case on a soggy Monday night at Husson College’s Winkin Complex, where scores were almost as rare as something that was dry.
The perennial regional title contenders battled through 60 minutes of regulation play, 16 minutes of sudden-death overtime, and nearly three full sets of penalty corners – all in a steady drizzle – before a ball finally crossed the goal line.
Rachel Trafton’s swipe of a hard shot on the 15th penalty corner play, which was deflected outward by Dexter goalie Katie Poirier, skidded between Poirier’s legs to give No. 2 Central a 1-0 victory over No. 3 Dexter.
“That’s how that game went. Dexter did a good job on us, and it was going to be one of those shots that ended up being the game-winner,” said Central coach Diane Rollins.
The defending Class C state champions, now 11-3-2, will take on top-seeded Stearns of Millinocket in the Eastern Maine regional final. Dexter finishes up 10-4-2.
The winning score started out just like each of Central’s seven previous penalty corner plays, with junior Brooke Washburn inbounding the ball from the right endline out to senior sweeper Chantel Randall on the right arc of the circle. This time, rather than trying to float a pass in or dump one out to a teammate on the opposite arc, Randall wound up and delivered a scalding shot at the net. Poirier got a pad on it and deflected it out, but it didn’t have much momentum and rolled right to Trafton.
“We tried to go to [Randall] because she has a nice, hard drive, and then we work it to Beth [Dauphinee] in the middle because she has nice moves. We’re just there for the second shot,” said Trafton. “I didn’t get much on it, but it just went under her while she was off-balance.”
Dexter took over to try and tie it up, with Michelle Chapman getting the ball out from the left endline to Alicia Marquis, but Trafton got a stick on it to bobble it loose and the two fought over it before the ball rolled back to foil Dexter’s scoring bid and end the game.
Central wound up outshooting Dexter 18-14, but after getting six to the Tigers’ two in the first half, the Tigers turned things around and roared to a an 11-6 advantage in the second, thanks largely to a huge edge in penalty corners (13-3).
“They want to play hit-and-run and chase because they’re fast. We want to control it,” said Dexter coach Margaret Veazie. “Once we settled down, we played much better. We controlled the ball and got more shots.”
After neither team managed a shot in the first overtime, Central got momentum back with a flurry of shots that produced a 6-1 advantage in the second.
“I think both teams got tired, but all of a sudden, they caught their second wind,” Veazie said.
Central goalie Kara Voisine made 12 saves while Poirier finished with 17.